Classroom Climate

classroom_beach_themeFall break is in the air! Back to school nights are in the rear view mirror, parent-teacher conferences are winding down, and everything “pumpkin spiced” is warming up as temperatures start to cool down. The halfway point of the semester quickly comes and goes but have you taken the time to ask yourself, “How is my classroom climate?”

The first few months of the semester were a time to dig in, stand firm, and set a strong foundation for the expectations of your classroom. With the classroom agreements clearly stated and students being held accountable for them every day, you have spent some great energy in making sure the classroom is a place of productivity.

Now is a great time to take your classroom’s temperature and get a gauge on how your students are adapting to the atmosphere of your learning environment. Use the thermometer below and see how your students are settling in to your classroom climate.

Too Much Heat – Everyone needs to chill out

A few of my students dominate or control the classroom. Participation is sporadic and there is a lot of time and attention spent on distracting behavior and off-topic conversation. My students know the rules but aren’t choosing to follow them. I spend most of my instruction time fighting classroom management issues and I’m on the brink of losing patience.

The Perfect Temperature – Feeling just right

My students feel safe to take risks in the classroom, both cognitively and socially. Participation is gathering steam and my students are putting forth a consistent effort. Accountability is shifting from me always having to remind them to taking ownership for their actions to them doing so on their own. I feel confident in my planning and we’re moving at a great pace through the content.

Too Cool – Light a fire under them

My students are starting to skate by and only do the minimum work that’s required of them. I have to practically beg for participation and often call on the same few students. My students aren’t bad by any means but I wish they would try a little harder and put a little passion into what we’re doing. We’re flying through lessons and I do most of the talking in the classroom.

Regardless of where your classroom temperature currently sits, take some time this week and speak openly and honestly with your students about the atmosphere of your learning environment. Have your students rate where they think they are as a class and talk about individual solutions and action steps they can take to readjust their participation, ownership, and rigor levels. Make sure you model taking ownership when you’re not being effective and recommit to holding everyone accountable for giving their personal best. And don’t forget to grab a pumpkin-spiced latte to celebrate all the hard work you put in every day!

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About Jeff Miller

Jeff Miller was a classroom teacher for 10 years before joining Quantum Learning Network as an Education Development Manger. He currently writes curriculum, designs trainings, and facilitates learning and life skills workshops with educators and youth. Jeff has an MFA in Creative Writing and dabbles in poetry and nonfiction.

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